Friday, August 15, 2014

Consular Consolidated Database: Updates on Operational Status

From travel.state.gov

We have made significant progress and issued most of the worldwide backlog of nonimmigrant visa cases. We are working to bring the Consular Consolidated Database back to full operational capacity. We continue to prioritize immigrant visas, adoption cases, and emergency nonimmigrant visa cases. We are printing visas for these cases and all cases with very few delays. Please check with the embassy or consulate where you will apply for additional information. Please see our FAQs for more information.


IRS "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" Now Available in 6 Languages

From the IRS Newswire, 08/12/2014

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service announced today that its cornerstone "Taxpayer Bill of Rights“ document is now available in six languages.

Newly-revised versions of Publication 1, "Your Rights as a Taxpayer,” are now posted on IRS.gov in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. By making this important publication available in multiple languages, the IRS hopes to increase the number of Americans who know and understand their rights under the tax law.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights takes the multiple existing rights embedded in the tax code and groups them into 10 broad categories, making them easier to find and understand.

“We believe that these rights are critically important for people to know and understand, and translating them into additional languages helps us reach even more taxpayers,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We encourage people to take a moment to read the Bill of Rights.”

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights contains 10 provisions. They are:
1. The Right to Be Informed
2. The Right to Quality Service
3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
6. The Right to Finality
7. The Right to Privacy
8. The Right to Confidentiality
9. The Right to Retain Representation

10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

Monday, August 4, 2014

State Department Announces Longer Delay in Visa Processing Times

From OgletreeDeakins, 07/31/2014

Last week, the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) visa processing database, which controls the issuance of visas and passports at the U.S. consulates abroad, experienced system performance issues (including outages) leading to worldwide delays in visa issuances for individuals seeking entry into the United States. The malfunction in the Consular Consolidated Database stalled the processing of U.S. visas for foreign nationals at consulates around the world, and was not limited to one consulate or country.
Although the consular database is back online, travelers should expect lengthy delays in obtaining U.S. visas. As confirmed by DOS officials, consular systems are not fully operational and priority is being given to immigrant visa cases over nonimmigrant visa issuances, which are further delayed as a result of backlogs that have lengthened visa wait times. In a July 30 update, DOS acknowledged that it anticipates that “it will take weeks to resume full visa processing capacity.” Visa applicants will be notified by the consulate when their passports and visas are ready to be collected.